In today’s modern times, the best way to connect with each other is through technology. Talking about connection, the very first thing which comes to our mind is connecting to our family and friends. The necessity of technology can be well understood if you stay away from family or friends and want to connect them instantly. So, by talking about the basic ideology of technology, what I wanted to portray is the effect of digital transformation in our lives. Now when it comes to communicating with the government, what is the most convenient way to do so? Yes, you got it right. It’s through technology again. As we know that the government’s main objective is to meet the needs of its citizens. Therefore, the best way to reach out to the citizens and provide them the necessary help is through digital services. In this article, I will tell you about the reasons why Drupal is the first choice of government when it comes to providing world class digital services.
Significance of digital transformation for a government
When we talk about digital transformation, it's not only about new technologies but it comprises a vast subject matter like mindset, culture, work process and organizational structure. These are the areas which need to be given emphasis along with the digital technology adaptation.
This section will provide you with information about what exact digital technologies the government adopts to deliver services more efficiently and effectively to its citizens. You will also get an overview of how digital transformation has brought a positive impact in the overall digital services leading to better outcomes for its people.
Facilitating good customer experience
Today every citizen looks for public services to be customized and approachable as the services like that of the private sector. So, the government has to plan for some ways to deal with this expectation of the people. There is a need to create a customer centric mindset where they look for improving service quality, strengthen the level of public trust in the government and promote transparent interaction leading to better customer experience.
Social media and mobile services like applications and SMS that are replacing the traditional channels, enable users to get access to the government services they require in the most suitable way. Such platforms can be a good medium of communication between people and the government, where everyone can report their concerns and also provide the necessary feedback to the government.
When it comes to providing quality digital service, we can’t afford to forget about artificial intelligence (AI) that provides excellent services to its customers using chatbots within the government websites to complete necessary transactions. It helps in improving policy development, enhancing administrative efficiency, examining complex datasets and delivering new and improved services to its users.
One more benefit which the government derives from technology is the facility of detecting geographical location that helps the users to choose their government services according to their preferred location. With this special feature in the government websites, citizens can save a lot of time and get access to the nearby government services without any concern.
Enhancing the return on public investment
Observing an uncertain growth and rising demand in the environment, it is important for the government to find sustainable solutions to finance public services and infrastructure. This is when the government needs to adopt digital technologies which can help in exploring new models for providing services and improving the management of resources in a smart and efficient way. Predictive analytics and text mining are some of the smart managing resources procedures that help in predicting problems and facilitating preventive action like for example recognising taxpayers at the risk of non-payment.
Maintaining citizen security
Everything comes with both pros and cons. Technology can be both a hindrance and a solution too. What I meant by this is to take your attention towards the cyber security issues. There are a lot of cyber attacks taking place all over the world. So, it is the government’s responsibility to safeguard the citizens from such threats, helping them live fearlessly without any doubt related to digital security. There are information security management systems that are introduced by the government to safeguard all the important data. Cloud computing is also a good process of increasing the computing capacity and facilitating safe payment platforms for citizen transactions.
Improving future workforce
A country’s workforce plays an important role in the economic growth and development. As a result the government should focus on building capacities and skills in their employees to achieve better outcomes. A responsive environment is beneficial for attracting enthusiastic workers who can actively take up lead roles, contributing to the evolution of the society. The employees can be encouraged to concentrate on stimulating and value adding tasks. This is made possible by deploying intelligent automation tools to reduce the manual and repetitive work that can complement human workers. Therefore, it helps in enhancing productivity and satisfaction, further helping in improving the citizens' experience with government services.
Government has observed an increasing need of building and upgrading infrastructure, especially in the urban areas due to huge population growth. In situations like this, a new infrastructure can be beneficial to support the growing population and increased economic activity. A smart infrastructure can be built by adopting digital technology that can provide digital literacy among citizens. Some of the examples are software, smart devices and sensors that can enable secure access to government services.
Provides better communication in emergency situations
The government websites can be a great help at the time of emergency since it is the first line of defence in such hard times that can provide the necessary support to the citizens. By building such functional websites with easy navigation, government officials can connect to the people in need and make sure that everyone is well informed about the important updates and announcements.
Reports and surveys tell the same story
The fact that the technology revolution is offering new opportunities to the government is also agreed by some of the well known company’s reports and surveys. Let us take a look at their opinion.
Government is able to better engage with the citizens through connected mobile services which helps in understanding citizens' needs and necessities leading to good customer satisfaction. This helps the government in enacting mobile citizen services which leads to better communication with the citizens on a very secured and reliable platform.
The Microsoft cloud platform helps in enhancing productivity, reducing management costs and protecting government data from any cyber attacks.
Government workers empowerment
The government workers are facilitated with the necessary digital technologies, for example, Microsoft cloud platform that helps in proper communication with the employees and work in a much efficient way. The employee tasks get easier like gaining access to real-time case information, file reports and developing effective strategies together as a team maintaining the required security and compliance.
Government operations optimization
The cloud services and solutions help in optimizing the government operations, promoting the cost and operating efficiencies. Microsoft aims at delivering an integrated, flexible and a cloud and productivity solution for government which is trustworthy, also that helps in addressing all the main transformation challenges faced by the agencies in providing quality services to citizens.
With the help of digital transformation, an agency gains access to huge quantities of data from processes and also the Internet of Things to provide better analysis, insights and better decision making that can enhance operations and provide new service opportunities. Now the data can grow in value since the government takes proper advantage of self-service data analysis tools, enabling everyone to work virtually with any type of data in new and convenient ways.
A Deloitte Digital Global Survey, The Journey to Government’s Digital Transformation explores the digital technology’s capacity to crucially transform the manner in which the public sector operates and delivers services to customers and present strategies for government leaders to measure the rate of their progress. It includes responses by more than 1,200 government officials from over 70 countries. This global survey also includes interviews with more130 government leaders and digital experts to get insight to the practices and policies influencing organizations’ “digital maturity.”
While surveying the 1,200 government officials from over 70 countries, they revealed that digital technologies are having a significant impact on the government. Among the respondents, three-fourths expressed that digital technologies are disrupting the public sector. It was also found that governments are at different stages in their journey towards digital transformation. A very small percentage can be considered as ‘maturing’ but the majority is still under the developing stage. 30 percent of the organizations surveyed confirmed that they are ahead of the public sector peers regarding digital capabilities; 70 percent said that they are behind the private sector. The two primary drivers of digital transformation i.e. cost-budget pressures and citizen demands are far away, accounting for 75 percent responses, although only 14 percent are moved by government directives.
Deloitte surveyed 800 government officials over eight countries to analyze COVID-19’s impact on government’s digital transformation around the world. About three-fourths of respondents expressed that COVID-19 has accelerated their government’s digital transformation, although 80 percent said that there wasn’t much advancement in their organization’s digital transformation.
The government agencies before the pandemic were majorly “doing digital” i.e. utilizing digital technologies to improve their capacities, yet majorly depending on legacy operating models. Governments were encouraged to enter into the next level of digital transformation due to COVID 19. Therefore, 77 percent of the government agencies confirmed that taking such initiatives due to this pandemic has brought a positive impact upon their organizations. Although they are “doing digital”, it's time to “be digital”. On reaching that stage of completely “being digital”, companies will be able to use some impactful technologies like cyber, AI and cloud to upgrade the human experience and entirely transform back-office operations and service delivery. Below are the stages of an organization’s digital transformation.
The ultimate goal of an organization’s digital transformation is to reach the stage of “being digital” as described in the above diagram. This stage consists of reinventing the strategies of meeting citizens demands and expectations leading to improved customer satisfaction by the government. By following the necessary measures, every government should opt to reach its final goal and utilize the optimum benefits of digital transformation. To know more on transformational strategies brought forth by Covid-19, read about digital readiness, how the pandemic enabled businesses to reimagine their operations, and the pandemic-driven digital transformation strategies.
According to CFI Group's 2020 Government Websites report, the government websites have played a major role in providing high quality, reliable information to the citizens during the hard times of COVID 19. According to the current data, the federal government websites are on the way to obtaining traffic volume of about 18 billion visits, representing nearly about a 80% increase over last year. The customer satisfaction index(CSI) of federal government websites is 73 as counted on a 0-100 scale for the fourth year in a row. The federal government websites are a reliable and cost-effective way to communicate with the citizens. The 2020 survey provides the latest update on citizen satisfaction i.e there is an increase in citizen satisfaction due to the availability of mobile access trends and easy chat facility.
Using Drupal for digital transformation of government
Why choose Drupal for government websites? Drupal CMS tends to transform the web development scenario of the government websites dramatically. It provides excellent web services that help its users experience a dynamic digital transformation. Many prominent Drupal government websites are built with the help of the following significant Drupal features.
The Drupal project is completely open-source software. Everyone is free to download, use, work on and also share it with others. It is based on principles like innovation, collaboration and globalism. It can be distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL). There are no licensing fees for Drupal.
The Drupal community is ever ready to support its users by answering their questions and concerns. So, if you have any question, somebody will certainly answer it, since it’s a worldwide platform.
The in-built tools in Drupal helps in content creation, workflow and publishing, making it easy for the content creators to efficiently do their work. Permission and authentication help in managing editorial workflows effectively. The facility of previews help in showing how the content will look on a device before the user approves and publishes the content. Drupal helps you in creating content with a WYSIWYG editor. It allows you to quickly track all revisions and changes, if you need to maintain a history of content changes. You can view the complete stages of your content, from creating, reviewing and publishing, enabling you to manage your roles and actions, automatically. The unique feature that Drupal provides is the ability to create a structured content i.e. describe content elements, tag content based on any attributes, form convenient taxonomy for content so that it can be looked, found, used and reused if necessary in ways that increases the customers satisfaction.
Drupal helps in creating the convenient content architecture using the Admin Interface or even do it programatically. There is an availability of unique mode tools and views, customizable menus that can create a comfortable user experience, also creating ways to content across numerous devices.
Drupal CMS is fully secure and it safeguards the websites from any types of serious internet vulnerabilities. It is designed keeping robust security in mind. There is a dedicated staff team of security specialists, along with a huge professional service provider ecosystem as security remains one of the top priorities of this free and open platform. Most of the security issues are handled by Drupal’s well built coding standards and strict code review procedure.
Drupal's automated language translation helps in reaching different audiences with localized content. It builds customized sites in any language to complex multilingual web applications. Core modules in Drupal facilitate complete translation of every part of a site, content types and their specific fields, users, menus, taxonomy, blocks, comments and contact forms. It also permits the identification of preferred language in accordance with the user's IP address, URL, browser settings, session and more. Read more about Drupal’s multilingual capabilities here.
Drupal has a special feature of building websites accessible by people with disabilities. It ensures that all its features conform with the World Wide Web Consortium guidelines (W3C) guidelines: WCAG 2.0 and ATAG 2.0. This feature proves to be very prominent for the government sites as it successfully achieves one of the objectives to serve all its citizens regardless of any discrimination.
Drupal builds an exclusive, personalized profile for each visitor, starting from using geolocation, browser history, behavior taxonomies and device type. It helps in gaining an overall customized experience, enabling you to track and report with A/B and multivariate testing, increasing ROI through target marketing and also provide segmentation of visitors over devices with an aim on the significant user identity for your business goals.
Learn more about personalisation here:
With Drupal you can build responsive websites and create web applications that can provide optimum visitor experiences. It helps in providing responsive design best practices and guarantee your users get a perfect content experience each time, on every device. To know more, read about mobile-first design approach and mobile apps like that of Flutter-powered delivered by Drupal.
Integration with third party tools
Drupal helps in smooth integration with a vast ecosystem of digital marketing technology and other business applications, so that you can use the finest set of tools today, and also flex with new tools tomorrow. Drupal’s API-first focus refers to connecting content to other websites and applications, building content more powerful.
You can specify Drupal exactly what you want and create limitless solutions which support your business needs.
Strong stack foundation
Drupal lives on the latest LAMP technology stack: Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP that meet the needs of flexible, fast-moving agile enterprises and brands creating next generation digital platforms.
Drupal provides content flexibility that will allow an easy flow of content over websites, native apps, connected devices and are displayed on third party sites and also social networks. Since, many CMSes try to manage content in a back-end repository and move it to “front-end” templates that can serve up an experience (mostly static). Drupal allows you to decouple the back and front ends, wherever it's useful. Therefore, Drupal content exists as reusable chunks, free from presentation, ready for easy delivery to websites and apps. Content also becomes future-proof. Drupal’s presentation i.e. RESTful API and neutral content help front-end developers to come out of the restrictions, enabling them to build interactive websites and applications, according to their preferences. They are allowed to use tools like Angular, Node, Ember, Backbone, and others. With this active platform, you can attain third-party content(eg. syndicators and aggregators) and make it available to any website, app or channel. With Drupal’s content-as-a-service capability, drupal’s content can be easily consumed by other applications and websites you choose. The Drupal front-end developers can easily design content, for example, separating back-end content from front-end presentation according to their preferences.
With Drupal you can choose the best hosting vendor that suits your needs, you can change hosting vendors whenever you want, and also select to host the website internally.
Upgrades and migrations
The Drupal upgrades are considered to be very easy and convenient. The upgrade from Drupal 8 to 9, Drupal 9 being the most recent and much improved version, is very effortless, according to its makers. The developers are allowed to make the upgrade themselves with the help of Upgrade Status and Drupal Module Upgrader. This further helps you to know whether your modules and themes are competent enough for Drupal 8/9 and converting your custom code accordingly.
Drupal has plenty of modules, themes and distributions to extend the functionalities.
For example, these are some of the Drupal distributions for government:
Opigno Learning Management System (LMS) is completely open-source, 100% customizable and 100% Drupal-based. It is a fully-fledged secure LMS for any organization or industry. It is used by Governments and Government agencies, higher education and large enterprises. This is available for Drupal 8 and Drupal 9 version is said to be available towards the end of August 2021.
WIM is a complete free reusable website model designed for local government and municipalities. With WIM every municipality can experience a great online presence; smoothly and at minimal cost. The WIM sites are considered as a cooperative initiative of the Cooperative Association Dimpact from The Netherlands. Their goal is to achieve a modern integrated public service. Please note that this distribution is only available for Drupal 7.
deGov is the first Drupal distribution that focuses on the needs of (German) governmental organizations. It is seen using lightning media as a basis and extends it with valuable functions to meet the use cases for various scenarios:
Sites for governmental organizations from all levels (federal, regional, local) to publish information
Service-oriented E-Government portals to end the gap between citizens and your administration
Citizen Engagement portals to discuss and decide online
Open311 portals for civic issue tracking
Open data portals to publish and form communities around data
Intranet/Extranet for government employees
The Drupal 9 version of this distribution is available for download.
Drupal voor Gemeenten
DvG is the "Drupal voor Gemeenten" distribution developed particularly for Dutch municipalities. It is built around the top tasks model, putting smooth and efficient online services front and center. This is available for Drupal 7.
There are also various Drupal themes for government that come handy:
The United States Web Design System (USWDS) is a design system particularly built for the use of the Federal Government. This theme is the process to integrate the styles with Drupal.
The GOV.UK Design System Frontend node module is being used by this specific theme which also has Twig template files for the majority of the GOV.UK styles, components and patterns. It is completely responsive and multi-column with a mobile navigation menu. This theme shows full support to Drupal Webforms, along with client-side validation of necessary fields and identifying any error message when there is GOV.UK validation error. Also, it is compatible with Drupal 9.
Bootstrap Rijkshuisstijl (Dutch Government Branding)
Netherland’s central government owns a standard Visual Identity which is used on every website. The central government visual branding i.e. "Rijkshuisstijl" has been further translated to the Rijkshuisstijl theme. The main features of this theme include:
Capable of being configured with every government agency.
Capable of being configured with 17 preset colour schemes.
Availability of responsive design and mobile first facility.
The Bootstrap 4 GovBR SASS is a Barrio subtheme which simplifies integrating Bootstrap 4 SASS, GovBR visual standards, and "Barra do Governo" with Drupal. This particular subtheme overrides nearly every CSS from Drupal and replaces Bootstrap variables wherever necessary to build from the roots a new set of CSS files. It is compatible with Drupal 9.
It is a responsive Bootstrap based theme along with the default identity of the Federal Government of Brazil. This theme has two requirements i.e., Bootstrap base theme and jQuery 1.9.x (jQuery Update recommended).
And, you also get really useful Drupal modules for the government. For example:
USWDS Ckeditor Integration
The USWDS library has become an essential requirement for government websites. This module majorly focuses on making a user to smoothly utilize and inject USWDS classes and components into the ckeditor without even opening the source event for a single time. The USWDS Ckeditor Integration module is compatible with Drupal 9.
GovCMS Dissemination Limiting Marker (DLM)
With regards to the paper–based information, all electronic–based information requires to be marked with a suitable protecting marketing. This particular theme provides the option to a user for setting a default Email Protective Marking, like SEC=UNOFFICIAL], appended to the end of the subject line for all outgoing emails sent using drupal_mail() on your site.
So, these are some of the Drupal government themes, modules and distributions that help extend the features and functionalities of Drupal as you like.
Support, maintenance, hiring and partnering with digital agencies
There are a lot of Drupal agencies you can opt for. They tend to provide you with the best services possible, according to your convenience. The top 4 Drupal agencies in the global Drupal marketplace are listed below.
Therefore, the following question, “Why drupal for government” is well answered by the above features that allow the government to build very functional and secure websites for its citizens.
Here are some of the case studies that tend to prove why Drupal’s the best choice when it comes to selecting the right CMS.
Ministry of Finance, Somalia
MoF Somalia is responsible for government revenue raising, expenditure, preparing annual budgets and economic policies among other responsibilities. They were looking for a technology partner that would help them in presenting their website with a clean architecture and design to their global audience. The main goal was to restructure the website, to integrate all the new content types, along with a user-friendly navigation, also adding a custom type of publication to publish annual reports. OpenSense Labs leveraged Drupal to complete the project within 6 weeks using the agile project methodology. We successfully built a website which was a lot more user-friendly along with faceted search application features and loads in less time than before. The site became SEO friendly, with a much better architecture.
The City of Boston is well-known around the globe for its winning sports team, prestigious universities, New England food and rich history. It serves 4.8 million people in the Greater Boston area, supporting 23 neighborhoods. Boston, a pioneering city is famed for having the first public school, public park and subway system. The City of Boston’s website was 10 years old and was running on an outdated Content Management System which could no longer support its needs. The main aim was to build a responsive website that could meet all AA WCAG accessibility guidelines. Drupal finally built a website that dramatically enhanced the accessibility of information and services the city offers, and also marked a shift in residents’ expectations of government.
The website has responsive mobile design
The new Boston.gov could meet all AA WCAG guidelines for accessibility and establish a 9-10th grade reading level (down from a postgraduate level)
Could Migrate more than 20,000 web pages and one million words to the new boston.gov
The website redesign could be delivered under budget
The new website launched 11 months after the kick-off meeting
The challenge was to opt for an open source CMS in the Amazon cloud to migrate the existing site off of a proprietary, on-premise CMS system as fast as possible without causing any service interruptions for both public visitors and content managers. NASA wanted its new website to develop a solution that could offer both a modernized display as well as provide the same user experience on both desktop browsers and mobile devices. It was important to account for live coverage events drawing even larger crowds of online visitors, as well as to scale down when the events concluded. NASA wanted it’s CMS solution to accommodate continuous integration with new services and technologies - both commercially available and custom built.
Drupal helped in reducing the complete development timeline – designing, executing and deploying the solution from development to production, also saving NASA millions of dollars in annual savings at the same time. Building with Drupal on the Amazon cloud ensures that NASA’s content was stored securely, also providing NASA the advantages of very flexible development capabilities when designing, executing and integrating new features and services. With its user-driven API’s, infinite compute scalability and storage, dynamic host provisioning, constantly developed robust new features, Drupal and AWS proved to be the perfect match to meet the content requirement of both NASA and the public.
Talk London is an online community where Londoners can share their opinion on the city's big issues. Since it is operated and managed on behalf of the Mayor of London by City Hall, the views shared through Talk London help to control the policy decisions of the future. It is a hub for crowd-sourcing ideas, raising awareness of initiatives, connecting Londoners to each other and City Hall so they can participate in designing and delivering improvements in their neighborhoods and communities. Talk London’s website (London.gov.uk) is built on Drupal 7. There was a requirement of an upgrade to Drupal 8 that would provide the chance to make Talk London 3.0 easy for the Londoners to get involved in policy and programme design, also refreshing the design with an updated brand identity.
The goals for Talk London 3.0 were:
Developing a diverse membership
Focus on transparency
The Talk London website was rebuilt by using an agile project management approach (Scrum) on Drupal 8, incorporating a refreshed brand execution, and also using a Storybook pattern. The basic functional requirements included:
Advanced user generated content functionality
Email notifications for end users
Flexible content layouts for Talk London website editors
There was also a requirement of a large-scale migration of historical content from the old Drupal 7 platform to the new Drupal 8 implementation.
Talk London 3.0 was launched in early March 2021 at the time for the Covid 19 recovery campaign.
Digital transformation in the government has become essentially important to meet its citizens' growing expectations and needs. Such a transformation can be challenging but eventually it proves to be rewarding for both the citizens and the government. So, a government that is ready to transform themselves and adopt the necessary digital technologies can improve the citizens’ quality of life and also enhance the citizen-government relationship. And Drupal proves to be the best support in building the bridge between people and their government.